Thirsting

Psalm 42
Yearning for God in the Midst of Distresses
(1)”As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
(2) My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
(3) My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
‘Where is your God?’
(4) When I remember these things
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
(5) Why are you cast down, O my Soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.
(6) O my God, my soul is cast down within me,
Therefore I will remember You from the land of Jordan,
And from the heights of Hermon
From the Hill Mizar.
(7) Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
(8) The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.
(9) I will say to God my Rock,
‘Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?’
(10) As with a breaking of my bones,
My enemies reproach me,
While they say to me all day long,
‘Where is your God?’
(11) Why are you cast down, O my Soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.
Today’s mediation from Our Daily Bread is about this Psalm. Which is an amazing piece of work if you look and take it deep inside you. It is, obviously, a psalm of thirsting for the Lord; of thirsting for something beyond what this world can physically offer us.

The first line in this psalm struck me with surprise. No one talks like that any more. I have noted a downward trend on the level of passion in this culture. When was the last time you spoke to the people in your church about hungering for God on this level and at this depth? I will admit that even though I feel this sort of hunger I am embarrassed about always expressing it. There are times in church when I want to stand up and shout, to praise Christ Jesus for something my Pastor or my Sunday School Teacher just told me, taught me, or shared with me.

MY SOUL THIRSTS FOR GOD, FOR THE LIVING GOD!! WHEN SHALL I COME AND APPEAR BEFORE GOD?!?! Drink those words in. Think about them. They are true inside me. I do thirst for God. I do desire Him and His grace. I yearn for His love and counsel. I want so desperately to be like Jesus, to love as He loved, and to be the sort of person someone says ……HOLY COW! Now THAT is a Godly woman! But what is keeping me back? Is God hiding from me? Is Jesus playing a really serious game of Hide and Seek with me? No. He isn’t hiding from me. He isn’t eluding me. I just don’t always act on my needs. I can’t rightly explain why I don’t. I somehow always manage to convince myself that something is more important in my life. Something takes priority. When will I finally get over myself and come and appear before the very living God I so need and desire?

While I hunger and thirst for God I feast on my tears. I feed on the fears and doubts unbelievers, and sometimes believers, thrust on me. I have been kicked and beaten many times by others, and by myself, when I am in a dark place …my mind filled with the mocking words…Where is your God now?! Where was your God when you got cancer?! Where was your God when you were raped?! God is the one who broke your ankle! …..Each of these things has been thrown in my face like some all powerful weapon. As if these statements hold any meaning or weight behind the blows they swing at my heart and my head.

So what did I do? Where did I go? Did I give up? Did I turn my heart into a hardened heart? No. I did the exact thing this Psalm tells me to do. What was true thousands of years ago is still true in the believers heart today! When the sinful come and knock at my door….I go to God’s house to rest. When unbelievers scream at me I put on the headsets of the Lord and sing His praises. I go to Church every Sunday because yes it is commanded of me…but also to feed on the Lord with others who share my hunger. When I can’t go to Church I think about my Church. I think about the people in my Church. I think about those who are saved with me. I open my Bible and I scream back……MY GOD IS HERE!! HE IS IN MY HANDS. HE IS IN MY HEART! HE IS ALL AROUND US!! HE IS EVEN IN YOU!

Even though I know that I can come back to verse 5. Why do I allow myself to feel such pain, such worry, such doubt? Even though I can scream those words at the top of my lungs; even though I can dance them in my heart and before anyone who can watch through the laughter at my dancing skills…..i can still find myself coming back to verse 5 at times. So I ask myself……soul, heart, why are you suffering? Why are you so sad? Don’t give up. Don’t be disheartened for I shall praise Him in this storm. I shall worship Him. I will seek His help to get us out of this mess. And I will seek out my peace in the shelter of Christ’s arms.

I will seek Christ out and I will remember all He has done for me. I will remember that I lived through my rape and found myself stronger and blessed in ways I could never imagine because of it. I can help other women who have been abused. I will remember that my cancer brought me into new lives that helped lead me to my salvation, and I survived a nasty disease with nothing to show for it but a scar and a lifetime of tiny purple pills. I will remember that through the pain of this nerve condition I am still walking today. God has given me a great new direction with my life if I but submit to His will! I will remember He NEVER gave up on me in the darkest hours of my life. He loved me then, even when I scorned and mocked Him and His children. He loves me now.

And He will cover me, thrum through me, and inculcate my very being with His love, wisdom, strength, and protection. Again I am in awe of the passion in verse 7. The call Christ has over my soul is deep. His love and mercy covers me from head to toe. No part of me is left expose to this world and the evil that lives within it. There is nothing in this world that can hurt me, not really. Any pain I feel in this life is fleeting, it will end when my life ends. But when my life ends I will begin a new life for the rest of existence with God. In the end I am going to heaven. God has marked me as His. He has protected me and kept me for His own. No amount of mockery, pain, or persecution can change that. It is done. I was done when Christ died for my sins.

And I will remember that. You should remember that. No matter what dark place you are in, remember that. God has already won. I am already saved. My ticket is bought and paid for. And whether the laughter comes from the unbeliever or the believer…there is no reason for me to keep the thirst for my Savior in a toned down version. There is no reason for me to keep it a secret.

I am thirsty for the love of Christ and the mercy of God. Like one who wanders in a forgotten desert. And I am not ashamed. For my Living God is mighty. His Kung Fu is STRONG!

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